Areas of the UK have seen the number of people diagnosed with dementia more than double in the last five years, according to recently published NHS data.
In England, Norwich CCG saw a rise of 73 per cent, while the East Riding of Yorkshire saw an increase of 68 per cent. In the south east there were rises in diagnosis, with Surrey and parts of Kent, including Canterbury, Dartford and Gravesham, seeing more than a 50 per cent rise. Lincolnshire and Rutland too saw a similar increase.
But increases are not limited to England. According to Scottish Government estimates, diagnosis increased by around a third in Ayrshire and Arran; in Wales, Swansea Bay University Health Board assessed that there had been a rise of almost 30 per cent.
So, what is behind the dramatic increase, which in one East Sussex area saw diagnosis rise by a staggering 95 per cent?
In 2012, the Government launched an initiative to increase the diagnosis rates of dementia. At the time, it was estimated only 40 per cent of those living with the condition had been officially diagnosed. This meant that there were many people who were not only not being counted as living with the condition, but also that they and their families were not receiving support.
An ageing population also contributes to the increasing numbers. Currently, according to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK. The charity estimates this number is set to rise to more than one million by 2025, reaching two million by 2051.
NHS England says it is a priority to diagnose dementia earlier, so people can receive correct treatment. At Care UK we are determined to help too, investing in new state-of-the-art homes and ensuring everyone who works in our homes, including our kitchen and maintenance teams, are trained to understand and support those living with dementia to live fulfilled lives.
Care UK also publishes a range of free advice booklets for family members and friends of people living with dementia. These can be downloaded here